Friedman: Leafs were ‘Muzzin’s most diligent and aggressive pursuer’

The Toronto Maple Leafs landed their defenseman this week, and a few interesting trade-related items have shaken loose as a result.

Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek were discussing the deal in the latest edition of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast.

Friedman alluded to two additional teams that had been in the running for Muzzin, and also shed some light on other options the Leafs had been exploring.

“I say I think it’s a good trade for them,” indicated Friedman of the deal that saw the Leafs secure Muzzin in exchange for a 2019 first-round pick, Carl Grundstrom, and Sean Durzi. “They’re in it to win it right now and they didn’t take anything off of their roster. I think one of the reasons that they did not go with some other possibilities including the likes of Brett Pesce and Alex Pietrangelo is that it was going to cost them pieces off their current roster.

“I don’t know what the talks with Carolina turned out to be or not be, but it was going to involve a player - either Kapanen or Johnsson or something like that.

“I have heard and I do believe that the talks with St. Louis for Pietrangelo involved William Nylander, which Toronto did not want to do. So that was something they were not willing to consider. As we saw, they could do Muzzin without taking off their current roster.

“And I think Muzzin was a guy they were interested in, even though he’s a left-hand shot. And what I’ve heard is they were Muzzin’s most diligent and aggressive pursuer. I believe Montreal had been there. He was in the Pacioretty deal, the aborted deal. And I think Tampa was there.

“But when it really mattered, who was the team that was aggressive? It was Toronto. And he was the guy they targeted.”

Friedman added: “The only other teams I really heard were Tampa and Montreal. I’m sure there were others. I can’t say for sure that they were there.”

Muzzin has this season and next year left on his five-year, $20 million contract.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly